1968, five years into Spencer making a home with Aaron he came home from his teaching job to find a table set with candles, wine and what looked like the beginnings of a very nice meal. There was soft Latin jazz playing in the background and the lights had been dimmed. Spencer was trying to wrack his brain trying to think of what day this could be. When Aaron came out of the kitchen holding a glass of wine in his hands Spencer knew there was something niggling at the back of his mind.
“Thought you had an eidetic memory Professor Reid,” Aaron smiled as he handed Spencer the wineglass.
“It’s a celebration obviously, but what are we celebrating?” Spencer smiled as he leaned in for a kiss.
“Six years ago, today you walked into that photo studio and changed my life.” Spencer laughed as he held the wine in his hand and kissed Aaron once again.
“Actually, it was you that changed my life Aaron. I was drowning and the day I met you it was like I had something to live for again.”
“Spencer,” Aaron sighed against Spencer’s lips as he returned the kiss. Taking the glass out of his hand Aaron put them down on the table and grabbed Spencer in his arms. “Dinner can wait. I find I need you, now.” Aaron fisted his hands in Spencer’s hair as he kissed him and started to walk them towards the bedroom. Once there Aaron stripped his lover quickly then pushed him down on the bed.
Spencer moaned in pleasure at the feel of Aaron on top of him, pushing inside of him agonizingly slowly. He lifted his legs and wrapped them around Aaron’s waist crying out when Aaron picked-up his pace and moved faster, snapping his hips working to bring them both closer to release.
Aaron collapsed down on the bed next to Spencer and pulled his lover on top of him.
“I love you Spencer. More than I could ever tell you in words.”
Spencer was sprawled on top of Aaron with his head on Aaron’s heart.
“I never thought I’d love someone like I’ve come to love you Aaron. I know it’s not always easy and I know you got passed over for partnership because you’re not married. Which is ridiculous.”
“It’s okay Penny. I’m happy where I am. I’m doing something worthwhile. The kids I help; they are why I do it.”
Spencer looked up at Aaron and sighed. He didn’t think he could get any happier than he was at that moment.
Aaron carded his fingers through Spencer’s hair and hummed softly when Spencer leaned into his touch. It was these moments that Spencer liked the most, when they were both soft and lazy from making love. Aaron loved to touch him, and Spencer didn’t think he’d ever tire of it. He had already gotten to a place where he no long compared his relationship with Aaron to what he had with Maeve. In his mind there was not comparison anymore. Aaron was everything to him. Partner, best friend, lover. He closed his eyes and laid his head down on Aaron’s chest and sighed his contentment.
“Penny, I ah, I have something for you.” Aaron seemed nervous to Spencer which put him on alert. He sat up and looked down questioningly.
“What is it?” Spencer frowned slightly.
Aaron got up out of bed and Spencer couldn’t help but to admire the retreating form. His lover had gone to a drawer and came back with something in his hand.
“I know it could never be official but Spencer, in every way that it counts, you’re my husband. I wish I could stand before our friends and family and declare it but maybe there will come a time when it’s possible. What I’m trying to say here is, will you wear this as a declaration of my love, trust and faith in you, in us, together?”
Spencer took the box out of Aaron’s hand, his own shaking as he opened it up. In it was a simple gold and silver wedding style band. His finger’s shook as he pulled it out and held it up. He didn’t realize he was crying until he felt Aaron wiping away his tears.
“Of course, I’ll wear it Aaron. Always.” Aaron smiled that smile that was only ever for him as he took the ring and slipped it on Spencer’s finger. “I love you,” Spencer launched himself in Aaron’s arms and kissed him as he held his lover close with the knowledge that this relationship would last a lifetime. He never forgot the older Aaron that came to him in that small café to give him hope for his future.
It was 1970 and Spencer didn’t think his life could get any better. He had a teaching position he loved, part-time freelance work as a photo-journalist, several successful art shows under his belt and had been nominated for several awards for not only his photography, but his scathing articles as well. But today, today was the biggest accomplishment of his life. After several battles and even going to family court three times to prove his competency he was signing adoption papers for two children. A young boy aged 7 named Christopher Matthew and a girl aged 5 named Aria Violet. Spencer had met the two children when he was investigating the state of foster care in the state of New York. Aaron was the one that had suggested to him that there were a lot of irregularities. His lover saw it almost daily at the law firm. Spencer happily took up the challenge and what he documented shocked the state and the country at large. These thoughts of the nearly yearlong battle with Social Services were running through his head as he signed the final papers that made Chris and Aria his.
At first, they had tried to block him because of income. When he proved how much he was worth between teaching, the Art shows and his photo-journalism work they came at him with his lifestyle. He again proved that his relationship with Aaron had no bearing on him being a father and the children were already attached. Several psychologists had been called as witnesses and most of them had agreed that Dr. Spencer Reid was not only a good man but could provide a loving, stable home for the children. It was also crammed down their throats that Dr. Reid was responsible for exposing what a poor job Social Services was doing in the first place. The family courts didn’t need reminding on just how dismal of a job they were doing protecting children. So, it was a small victory for Spencer as he sat there and made it official. He also put down their names as Christopher Matthew Reid-Hotchner and Aria Violet Reid-Hotchner. The adoption agent pressed her lips together in a show of her displeasure, but Spencer lifted a brow just asking her to challenge him. When all she did was give him his copies of the paperwork for his records and huffed off Spencer knew he won another small victory.
With a smile on his face he walked into the common room of the orphanage and called for the children.
“Are we going home now?” Chris looked up with dark eyes that were reminiscent of Aaron’s that it put a smile on Reid’s face. “Yes Chris, we are going home now.” He took the children’s hands and walked out for the last time. They took the subway home and as soon as they walked-in the door the children ran to Aaron and grabbed onto him.
“Welcome home,” he said as he looked into their faces and smiled.
Christmas of 1971 had Aria’s school holding a Father-Daughter dance. When asked by the school who her father was, she gave both names. She was then told she had to pick one of them that both couldn’t attend. She frowned and asked why when all the Mothers were going to be there. The administration had no good answer for her but told her that she had a choice, she could not attend, or she could choose one of the men she considered her fathers. When she came home crying both Aaron and Spencer were upset that the school would do something like this to their daughter.
This was the situation that caused the two men to be sitting in the Principals office listening to the man try to give clumsy reasonable explanations to them, but he was having a hard time when Aaron Hotchner was glaring at him.
“So, you’re saying to me, a lawyer that because of our personal, private lifestyle that we both are not allowed at a public-school function? Is that what you are saying to me Principal Jones?”
Jones’s face paled when he realized exactly who he was talking to.
“It, it isn’t that Mr. Hotchner, it’s just that, well not everyone in the school is comfortable with your lifestyle.”
“And what if we had been brothers raising our sister’s child together. Would there be an issue? Or is the fact that my partner and I have sex with each other the issue?” Aaron glared at the man and Spencer both winced and smiled inwardly. He knew Hotch was using his lawyer persona on the Principal and knew that the man was digging his grave deeper and deeper.
“I don’t think I should answer that question. It’s rather unseemly that you even ask it Mr. Hotchner.”
“You do realize that this is a Public event and you are allowing the Mothers to be there as well as the Fathers. If you disallow both Mr. Reid and me from attending, I will have no problems bringing a civil complaint against this school.”
“Now look here Mr. Hotchner I believe I have been more than reasonable….”
“No actually you haven’t Mr. Jones. You’ve disrespected myself, my daughter and my partner. You are excluding us in a school sponsored public event, yet all of the other parents are allowed to be there. That is discrimination. And it’s also come to my attention that several other families are having issues as well. May I remind you of the Markham’s, or Mr. and Mrs. Cho, or how about Mr. and Mrs. Martinez? Does this school really want to get into a discrimination lawsuit? Because I can assure you that a lot of information on how you treat not only sexual orientation, but minority families as well will come to light.” Aaron sat back and crossed his arms while he glared at the now very uncomfortable Principal.
Jones pressed his lips together as he watched the two men.
“And might I remind you Principal Jones that I have quite the loyal following of my investigative reports. Do you really want to become the subject of my next article? Because let me tell you after talking to over twenty families with children that attend this school there is enough for me to run with and I assure you that your school board does not want to be caught in the type of controversy that you are stirring-up right this very minute.” Spencer raised his eyebrows as he watched the now squirming Principal.
“Fine. You will both be allowed to be there.”
“And the Markham’s?”
“Of course. But you do realize this amounts to blackmail, don’t you?” The Principal smirked at Spencer thinking he had the upper hand on him.
Spencer narrowed his gaze and stood, he leaned down across the desk, getting right in the Principals personal space.
“Oh, it’s not blackmail Principal Jones. I will write my article and you will have to answer for some of the things that have gone on in this school regarding certain families you deem personally ‘unacceptable’. I have enough evidence to bury you. By the time I am done you won’t even be able to be allowed inside a daycare center let alone Principal of any school in New York.” Spencer pulled back and felt a little too satisfied at the now sweaty and pale look on the man.
“Please, I’ll do better, just I can’t lose my job.”
“You should have thought about that before you spread an insidious campaign against Marcus and Anabelle Markham. They are a wonderful couple and you have made this place very uncomfortable for their children. It isn’t your place to decide whether a mixed culture marriage is okay or not. They are human beings and you, Principal Jones, are a bully.” Spencer glared before he shoved off the desk and stalked out of the office.
The two men arrived home about an hour later and practically ripped each other’s clothes off. The little scene in Principal Jones’s office made Spencer more aroused than he thought he had a right to be. Aaron was all too happy to comply with his ‘husband’.
A week later Spencer and Aaron were at the dance and their table also had the Markham’s. They all had a good time and though there were a few people giving them dirty looks most of the families attending didn’t care.
Spencer was dancing with Aria and smiling softly.
“Thank you, Papa,” Aria said softly as she wrapped her arms around his waist.
“For what sweetheart?” Spencer smoothed back her hair as they slow danced.
“Making them let you and Daddy be here. I love you.”
“I love you too Airy Fairy. And your Dad and I wouldn’t miss this for anything.”
Aria smiled up at him and though for a fleeting moment James crossed his mind, his heart tumbled once again, and love filled his heart.
July 1977 had Spencer sitting in an interrogation room with the profilers from the BSU questioning him for the last three hours. Spencer wanted to laugh at the irony of being questioned by Special Agents Jason Gideon and David Rossi. The fact that he had gotten to know them in his future time-line did not necessarily help him here. He knew anything he said about their lives could be taken wrong.
“Dr. Reid, thank you.” Spencer lifted a brow at Gideon who had that look of a man who seemed like he didn’t have a care in the world. Oh, it wasn’t quite as practiced as it would be in the future, but Spencer recognized the tactic right away.
“Sorry, Dr. Reid, you still haven’t explained to our satisfaction how you were one of the first reporters on scene in each of these murders.”
“I already told you Agent Gideon; I know this city well. I photograph it for a living. The first couple I stumbled onto by accident. Then I started to extrapolate how the killer was working by using a map. If you would let me show you, it’s a matter of Math and Science.”
“Come on Gid, let the guy show us how he figured Berkowitz out. Can’t hurt and it would ease your mind.”
Spencer watched the two men work and wondered what happened to them to fracture their friendship. There was something between them and it niggled at the back of his mind as he carefully observed them.
“You look like your profiling us Dr. Reid.”
“Maybe I am Agent. See people underestimate me until I start to talk to them then they just get either intimidated or nervous around me. But the both of you are neither. But you see, what this does is let me observe, lets me see human behavior and lets me get the almost perfect photo at just the right time. Too soon and the right moment changes completely, too late and the moment is lost. But if the photographer is patient and observes the behavior, he or she can get that perfect shot. It’s basically the same philosophy I took with Berkowitz.” Agent Rossi had come back into the room with several maps and Spencer quickly went through them and found the one that worked the best. Pining it up on the wall he asked for several markers and made points on the map of where the victims were before being shot and where their bodies were eventually found. He walked the profilers through his thought process and when he turned around to look at them, they both had stunned looks on their faces.
“So, you see, that is how I figured out where he might be. I wasn’t always right but, more often than not, I was closer than I thought. Now, if you don’t suspect me of being an accomplice then I suggest you let me go. My partner and children are probably wondering where I am.”
Spencer stood there eyeing Gideon and the other man smiled and shook his head. “Too bad you like your job I’d see if we could get you into the bureau. We could use someone like you in the BSU. Smart, unassuming and that,” Gideon pointed with his toothpick at the map, “Is bloody brilliant. How are you at chess?”
Spencer smiled and shook his head a moment and thought that some things never changed.
“Sorry, my family is too important to me.” Spencer started to gather up his things and handed the map to Rossi. “Keep that, you just might figure it out someday.” Rossi quirked up a brow and watched Spencer for a moment before shaking his head and leaving. Spencer just huffed out a short laugh as he stood looking at Gideon. “So, Agent, am I free to go?”
“Yes Dr. Reid you are free to go.” Gideon watched as Spencer slung his bag around his neck and started out the door of the interrogation room.
“Oh, and Jason? Maybe you and Rossi should both tell your wives what is really going on between you two.” Spencer was satisfied with the look of shock that he got from Gideon. In the future almost nothing fazed the man but here and now, while he was still so young and ambitious Spencer finally got one over on Gideon. He walked out the door and tried to tamp down the satisfaction he felt.
About an hour later he was walking into his home and being engulfed in Aaron’s arms happy that no matter what happened in their lives they always had each other.